Holiday Cheer

Milk and cookies for Santa, fine wines and personalized chocolates for me.

Credit: BCBusiness

Sweet Company
Thomas Haas Chocolates of North Vancouver has built a name selling premium handmade chocolates. Now you can add your own cocoa butter logo to make a tasty, personalized impression on clients. The one-time setup fee for logo artwork is $275 for one colour and $375 for two colours. Token two-piece gift boxes start at $3.75 and the 36-piece Keepsake Collection sells for $75. Thomas Haas Chocolates, ­

Jim Hoggan’s Wine Pick

I know of only one contest in which defeat tastes sweeter than victory, and it’s been held annually for more than a decade. Every year on Christmas night, a group of friends and family members compete to see who can come up with the best wine for turkey dinner. The winner gets boasting rights – and the losers have to content themselves with drinking something even more spectacular than what they found themselves.

Some of the group have come and gone, but Vancouver Sun business writer Gordon Hamilton and his wife Veronique have been there from the beginning. Gordon has an enviable cellar, built through decades of careful research and smart purchases. He’s forever showing up with some fabulous Bordeaux he picked up in the early ’80s – the kind of wine neither of us could easily afford today.

Through these many sessions, we have come to agree that we prefer red wine with turkey and we like Pinot Noir most of all. That’s not to say we won’t show up with a big, fruity Cabernet or one of the great Shirazes currently coming out of Australia and southern France, but the Pinot usually has the best combination of high acidity and earthy, spicy nose to complement turkey’s rich flavours.
There are many worthy suggestions in the category, including the Okanagan’s Blue Mountain Pinot Noir and New Zealand’s Rippon Pinot Noir (from the esteemed Lake Wanaka vineyard). My favourite, however, is the more expensive – but entirely sublime – 1993 Morey-Saint-Denis from Remoissenet Père and Fils in Burgundy. Just one word of caution for that turkey dinner: beware the cranberry sauce. It hammers the taste buds and flattens the wine. $94.99 at Liberty Wine Merchants,

The Pear Necessities
Pottery Barn’s pear place-card holders are simple decorative must-haves for any festive table this month. Made from hand-blown glass and finished in gold paint, these place-card holders are as practical as they are beautiful. Cards are elegantly tied with raffia to each pear’s stem rather than placed in a card groove as found in typical place-card-holder designs. Each set of four pear place-card holders ($29) includes 20 paper cards and raffia for attaching. Pottery Barn,